The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Recent baking

Floydm's picture

Recent baking

July was a very busy month. I had family in town, the Open Source Conference to attend, many things to take care of at work and many summer activities to participate in. I have been baking, I just haven't had the time to post about what I've baked.

In the past couple of weeks I've baked:

  • my standard white sourdough

  • a light rye and a dark rye from Daniel Leader's new book, served with roast pork

  • my baked potato bread, served with a grilled steak

  • blueberry muffins and blueberry coffeecake and blueberry pancakes and blueberry waffles. Guess what is in season here?

Today I baked an Italian white loaf with biga from Leader's book and Hamelman's sourdough semolina bread:

italian breads

I didn't do a good job shaping the semolina bread so I got the lazy baker cavities, but they tasted great. Wonderful with manicotti, a bottle of Barbera Montferrato, and spinach raspberry salads.

I know I said I was going to post a full review of Daniel Leaders's Local Breads, but I don't know when I'm going to have a chance to. Let me just say for now that it is a very nice book: authentic formulas from European bakers (France, Italy, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic) that includes helpful shortcuts for the home baker. I can't think of another book that does a better job of providing useful instructions for both amateur and advanced bakers: if you want to execute a recipe authentically this book tells you how, but for every complex step or difficult-to-find ingredient Leader provides a shortcut. It has helpful FAQs, beautiful photos, nice layout and typography, and is probably the most professionally executed bread book I've read. As I mentioned before, it reminds me of the now out-of-print Village Baker, but coming 15 years later in the artisan bread revolution than The Village Baker (and after the Internet became mainstream) it is much more mature. I know the last thing many of us need is another baking book and most of recipes are traditional European recipes that can be found elsewhere, but it is worth checking out the next time you are in a bookstore. If nothing else, it'd be a good one to give a friend for the holidays rather than trying to track down a battered old copy of Village Baker.


Paddyscake's picture

as we can! Your loaves look wonderful!! I haven't been home long enough to bake bread in almost 3 weeks..I did bake some chocolate walnut cookies and made pasta primavera/whole wheat pasta after driving home from Seattle from a Mariners game. Arggg.. we lost the series this weekend!! I've book marked the "Open Source Conference" for tomorrow's reading...good to hear from you.

Well, I just got around to going back to read the "Open Source Conference" and realized it was techie stuff..oh much for speeding through posts!

susanfnp's picture

Those loaves do look fantastic. In fact, the whole Italian meal sounds just perfect.

I am always in awe of people who manage to make multiple kinds of bread in one day, especially on a regular basis like you do!

Thanks for the mini-review on the Leader book. I'm looking forward to reading it.


mountaindog's picture

Floyd - sounds like everyone is having a busy summer, that makes me feel a little less guilty about not having time to post to TFL in awhile. Beautiful loaves as usual and I echo Susan's remarks about multi-tasking baking in one day and not getting the recipes mixed up.

Thanks so much for the informative comments on the new Leader book. Dan's Bread Alone bakery is just down the road from my house and I see him there sometimes when I stop in for a coffee on my way to work - I noticed the new book nicely displayed on the counter and I've been debating about whether to pick up a copy, now I think I will...

BTW I just received my confirmation for the Reinhart whole grain baking workshop in November at King Arthur flour in VT. My sister who lives in VT also got a slot and will be taking the class with me, I'm really looking forward to it and to meeting Peter.


PS - did JMonkey make it out to Oregon yet? I have so much TFL reading to catch up on! 

Floydm's picture

Yes, JMonkey made it to Oregon. He is very busy trying to get unpacked and the family situated. I'm look forward to hearing more about his trip once he has had a chance to settle in.

That's neat that you'll get to meet Peter. I exchanged emails with him a week or two ago and he said he would be willing to do a question and answer session here after we all get our hands on the new book and start experimenting with his recipes.

zolablue's picture

I am so excited about this book.  I have only just received it and have been trying to get a chance to read it the past couple days.  On first look, I can't agree more with Floyd that it is extremely "user friendly" and not a whiff of arrogance in sight.  He has not only included incredible looking recipes and photos but made a concerted effort to answer common questions that we all ask but are not to be found in other books.


I think he is on the level of Glezer and Reinhart when it comes to the home baker - really seems like he cares.  He obviously has a great passion for bread baking and rather than hold that above us he really conveys a strong desire to help everyone interested to become the best bread bakers we can be.  I like that a lot. 


I have already chosen a couple recipes to make first but I have to say it is hard to choose.  So many wonderful and exciting recipes and really great information in this book.   It is a no brainer to buy it.


Floyd, super looking bread!  Really beautiful loaves.  I am absolutely crazy over blueberries and actually tried to duplicate a bread I ate on vacation last spring that was a perfectly beautiful shade of lavender and I swear it was tiny ground up blueberries in the dough.  I tried making it but didn't quite come out right but I must try again.  Have you ever tried using them in artisan bread to turn the dough lavender? 

Floydm's picture

I haven't. Could be pretty amazing looking, eh?